Burleson family keep innovating — but wet weather means a late season for all crops

CM-MR-2-Burleson family 1by Karl H. Kazaks
RICHFIELD, NC — “We’ve had a season unknown to most of us around today,” Ronnie Burleson said. “A wetter spring and summer than we can remember.”
So it has been — as in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast — in Stanly County, headquarters of Thurman Burleson & Sons Farm — a family partnership between Ronnie, his brother Dennis, son Andrew, and nephew Aaron. The Burlesons grow cotton, corn, beans, and wheat on 4,000 acres in five counties within a 50-mile radius of their home farm here.
Planting was delayed by about two weeks at the Burlesons’ operation.
With the cool wet spring, they could only plant corn “for a day or two before we’d have to wait,” Burleson said. They even sent some corn seed back, as they wanted to focus on planting 2,400 acres of cotton. “Hindsight being what it is, even late corn looks good,” Burleson said.
They weren’t able to make up lost time when planting cotton, though. Because of all the rain, some cotton plants experienced damping off. “We’ve got bare spots,” Burleson said. “Some of it just drowned. About all you can do is spray the weeds and keep up with the good stands.”
Persistent rain also delayed the Burlesons’ wheat harvest.
“We should be planting double-crop soybeans by June 30,” Burleson said. “Half of our wheat wasn’t harvested by then.” Because of the late wheat harvest, the Burlesons decided not to plant several hundred acres of beans, figuring the risk of planting so late just wasn’t worth it. [Read more…]